Credit hours:

Course Summary

Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are potentially traumatic events that can have negative, lasting effects on health and well-being. These experiences range from physical, emotional, or sexual abuse to parental divorce or the incarceration of a parent or guardian. Many foster children have experienced multiple traumatic events in their childhood. It’s imperative that foster parents and other child welfare stakeholders be informed about how trauma impacts the children and youth they care for.

In this course, you can expect to learn:

  • The connection between Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) and health outcomes

  • How responses to stress can impact child and adolescent development

  • Considerations for facilitating trauma-informed services

  • Perspectives from young people who have experienced trauma

  • How foster parents can provide trauma-informed support to children and youth

Step 1

Learn how childhood trauma unfolds across a lifetime from Pediatrician Nadine Burke Harris in the video "How Childhood Trauma Affects Health Across A Lifetime."

Step 2

Learn what trauma is, how young people respond to trauma, and how trauma-informed services benefit children and youth in foster care by reading the article "Trauma-Informed Practice with Young People in Foster Care."

Step 3

Review the JBS International article "Youth and Family Perspectives on Trauma-Informed Care" and learn how identifying trauma may help to overcome it.

Step 4

Review the Fostering Perspectives article "Trauma-Informed Parenting: What You Should Know" to learn valuable trauma informed parenting information. 

Step 5

Learn the impact of untreated trauma on children and young people, understand some of the behaviors exhibited in reaction to trauma, and explore practical tips to help children and youth overcome trauma in the article "Parenting a Child Who Has Experienced Trauma."

Step 6

Join the discussion in the comments below to answer the following question:

How might a parent manage discipline differently for a child who has experienced trauma? You are encouraged to share real-life examples, but please don't use any names in your story.

Step 7

Finished the module?  If you are logged in as a subscribed user, take the quiz to earn your Continuing Education Credit hours and certificate!

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Course Discussion

kbeebeem's picture

kbeebeem said:

Our foster child who was 20 months when coming into care had many triggers that startled her including dogs barking, garbage trucks, and loud noises. For a long time she was not able to self-regulate and we could not help her calm down. Through PCIT therapy, getting trauma informed, and OT therapy she now is able to self regulate and is not afraid of many of the things that startled her or made her go into fight or flight mode. We find that the change of season is always a trigger for regression.
jenannbloom's picture

jenannbloom said:

When our foster daughter came to us, she would throw things, kick, hit, scream...we had to learn to create safety by sitting in the floor, speaking softly or staying quiet, and to not get escalated with her.
Joe Nichols's picture

Joe Nichols said:

Our children are young so for us it is looking at the behaviors that they are having and when a visit has happened. Usually the behaviors are fussiness and irritability. Instead of "disciplining" for screaming or tantrums like you might a typical toddler I will give her the attention and reassurance of safety that she needs
Lamedin's picture

Lamedin replied:

I really agree that behaviors will happen more when visitations are taking place. We have had numerous youngsters that we would have to deal with the trauma effects when they came home. Clinginess, whining and sense of insecurity were real to them. They don't know who to give their trust to and we just shower them with love and compassion and help them feel safe and secure.
Peter081215's picture

Peter081215 said:

The parent should take into consideration there past trauma and find out what triggers there child so they know how to deal with it in a better way.
hinsch1771's picture

hinsch1771 said:

Parents should be cognizant of the past traumas and discipline in a more nurturing way as the source of the trauma could actually be severe physical or emotional discipline.


Try to find out more about the child's history to get a better understanding of any potential triggers to get an idea of what works and how not to escalate the situation.
LaQuella L McNary's picture

LaQuella L McNary said:

Provide realistic expectations and encourage open communication daily.
orhue1111's picture

orhue1111 said:

Child should be part of treatment plan, care giver be able to detect changes in behavior early and what triggers it .
rdsimpson7112's picture

rdsimpson7112 said:

It's very important to have an idea of what happened and what triggers are present. That way you can reassure the child/youth as necessary. Work on building rapport/gaining trust. Be careful not to break that trust as they have likely already struggled with trust issues in the past. Ask them what is going on, what you can do to help, and let them contribute to how things will be dealt with moving forward. They need some sort of control in their life. They can be held accountable easier if they deviate from a plan that they assisted with putting into place. Taking more of a teaching approach than reprimanding approach may help as well. Often foster children have not been taught even the basics, so don't assume they should "know better."